The Human Genome ProjectQUESTION: The Human Genome Project - What is its Purpose?ANSWER:
The Human Genome Project was a 13-year project coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institute of Health. It completed its initial mission in 2003. The initial purpose or goals were to:
- identify all the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA,
- determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA,
- store this information in databases,
- improve tools for data analysis,
- transfer related technologies to the private sector, and
- address the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) that may arise from the project.
Identifying the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA was an enormous achievement of the Human Genome Project which some say is akin to developing the periodic table of elements. However, deriving meaningful knowledge from DNA sequence will define biological research through the coming decades and require the expertise and creativity of teams of biologists, chemists, engineers, and computational scientists, among others. Many research challenges remain in genetics even with the full human sequence in hand. Some of the application areas where specific goals (additional purposes) have been defined are as follows:
- Molecular Medicine
- Energy and Environmental Applications
- Risk Assessment
- Bioarchaeology, Anthropology, Evolution, and Human Migration
- DNA Forensics (Identification)
- Agriculture, Livestock, Breeding, and Bioprocessing
A short list of the many challenges (the purpose is to overcome these challenges) include the following:
- Gene number, exact locations, and functions
- Gene Regulation
- DNA sequence organization
- Chromosomal structure and organization
- Noncoding DNA types, amount, distribution, information content, and functions
The purposes of the Human Genome Project and the ongoing effort to understand the relationship between the code and life is more than just a set of objectives, goals and challenges to overcome. The purpose also includes the significance and appropriateness of what is being done to our world and how it relates to our worldview and its values. The project team realized this and included an ethical, legal and social issues topic as part of their objectives and they spent about 3%-5% of their budget in this area. However, that doesn't mean they considered limiting the work to accommodate a Christian Theistic worldview that is opposite to the dominant naturalistic, humanistic worldview in the scientific community. In fact, they assumed that the theory of evolution is true and that God doesn't exist by including the study of evolution into their objectives.
It would seem that the most appropriate, significant and profound purpose of the Human Genome Project would be to identify if the evidence points to special creation or (macro) evolution. Zero percent of their budget went toward inferring or concluding what the data implied regarding the biggest question in the universe! Their naturalism presupposition compels them to conclude that macro evolution is true and that God does not exist. This, in part, has happened because of a redefinition of science.
The 1934 edition of Webster's New School dictionary in defining the word "science," "acknowledged truths and laws, especially as demonstrated by induction, experiment or observation." However, by 1983 the basic definition was changed as follows in the Webster's Collegiate dictionary; "knowledge concerning the physical world and its phenomena." Scientists have lost this fundamental understanding of the original purpose of science since its definition has now been altered. This (new) definition removes the idea that science is the search for truth, but only exists to identify and emphasize natural phenomena.
How can scientists ignore such overwhelming evidence that the voluminous digital code in the DNA molecule could come about via evolution without a designer?